Most swimmers are quite familiar with the sting of chlorine in their eyes. The smell of swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool can even become rather soothing after a while. Most people assume that the sting and smell are just proof that they’re being protected against disease. After all, nobody wants bacteria heavy water sitting right against their eyes or skin. A recent story provides a differing viewpoint of chlorine rich pools.
The article features some advice from University of Alberta’s Lindsay Blackstock. Lindsay recently co-authored a paper which shows 31 of the 31 pools they tested came out positive for a chemical that suggests the presence of urine. She points out that all other chemicals present on one’s body from general personal hygiene are also going to be present in every pool. Anyone who’s had shampoo get into their eye will know how rough that can be. And just because the shampoo is in a diluted form, that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly safe to have seeping into one’s ocular orbit.
Andrew Chadeayne went on to mention that the various chemicals and contaminants in pools pose special risk to anyone concerned with the health of their eyes. He points out that the major concern isn’t the components people know about. It’s the fact that any given pool will essentially be a mix of multiple unknown items. He notes that the two most sensitive areas to this kind of chemical irritation are eyes and lungs.
Protecting lungs against the chemical fumes from a pool can be best accomplished by simply favoring outdoor pools over indoor pools. Free flowing air will always do a better job of dispersing fumes than simple climate control systems. Additionally, it’s important to use swim goggles if there’s any concern over eye safety. Getting chlorine in one’s eye can sting. But the larger concern is the mix of other random chemicals that are coming into contact with one’s eyes. Thankfully, these precautions should safeguard people’s eye health during a swim.